Death Becomes Them

So I’d just like to preface this by saying this is in no way a slight against Canadian Troops service across seas. I may not like you being there, but that’s between me and the elected officials who sent you there, not you and me.

That being said: why is it that when a soldier dies, s/he’s always “one of the best”, a “true hero”, a “committed family man”, or some other such elogy (is that the right word? Posthumous praise) ? I mean, sure, there are soldiers who are all that. But there must be soldiers who aren’t. Where’s the soldiers who signed up because it was that or jeuvy? Or who kept getting busted back to private? Or who, you know, weren’t “heroes”, but rather, men and women out doing their job, dreaming about what they really wanted to be doing. Who were there only because it had paid for their schooling, etc.

It’s not that I have a problem showering praise on our soldiers. Hell knows I wouldn’t want to do that, nor do I think I could (physically/emotionally/mentally). But in some ways, I’d feel better about our troops, and think more on them if when I heard about them, they were, well, ordinary. Every single one of the soldiers who’ve died in Afghanistan in the last few weeks all appear to be, according the media, super-human in some way, all living to much higher standards than I, at least, am able to do. This makes it too easy to de-humanize them, and worse, I think, to not think about the impact their death has upon their families and loved ones. It removes my ability to relate to the dead soldier. Which, I suppose, would make it a pretty good, if disturbingly cynical, political ploy to keep up support for the Canadian mission of there.

Is this entire train of thought callous of me?